I first felt drawn to yoga because I wanted to increase my flexibility and reach my hands below my shins. Never truly believing that even I, the least flexible person on the planet, could touch my toes, I tried anyway. It took about two weeks until I suddenly had a breakthrough and I could touch my toes. I began to notice many other benefits I never imagined. After awhile, my chronic back and neck pain let up. My balance was greatly improved. When walking, I felt graceful and aware of my body. I started noticing subtle differences in my posture, my breath, and in my attitude.
As I became more aware of my body, I also became more aware of my thoughts, reactions and emotions. I began noticing I was more peaceful even in stressful situations. Continuing to pursue this mindfulness has led me down many paths I would have otherwise overlooked, and has changed my life in many amazing ways.
What were these changes? Could doing a yoga DVD be responsible? (Rodney Yee’s Gaiam DVD was my first teacher and accompanied me for a few years when I lived in a small town that had no yoga studio)
When the opportunity arose, I took it a step further and went to a yoga studio. At this point I was in medical school and studying about 16 hours a day with an average of four hours of sleep a night. Stressed out, going through a divorce, and not at all taking care of myself (there was NO clean laundry in my house and I will not discuss my diet in public), I tumbled through life in survival mode.
Walking into the studio, antique french doors opened to a wooden floor in an open room with large windows and tall ceilings. The sun warmed the air, scented with essential oils, and glittered across the floor. It was welcoming and I could relax, breathe easy, and let go.
The teacher started each class with an intention/focus. Whether it be to delve deeper into our Warrior 2, or to keep focused on our elbows during chaturanga, there was something to take with us.
This was where I learned how to start working out poses, not just flowing through the movements.
I took these lessons with me and think of them often even now, almost ten years later. Even throughout my training to teach yoga. We always carry a piece of our teachers with us.
With a background in medicine, music, and outdoor sports, I approach yoga from many perspectives. Within the realm of a creative flow, I hope to stress specific foundational skills, as well as breath and body awareness.
I want students to leave class with the principles of developing and nurturing a sustainable yoga practice through proper alignment, safety and knowing the benefits of poses.
I also enjoy challenging myself. I believe through pushing our boundaries we learn, and through learning we grow in all aspects of our life.
Yoga is an individual effort and whether you are a beginner or have practiced for many years, there is always an aspect of each pose or transition to improve and work towards. It is this edge that I seek and challenge.
I hope to make yoga accessible to each person so they can profit from this activity, which offers so much more than just physical benefits. I truly believe yoga can change your life, as it has mine. Not to change who you are, but to help you know yourself better and feel better in your own skin.